Constituency Engagement

No one understands the intricacies of the child welfare system better than those directly involved with it. Child welfare system constituents — birth parents, kinship caregivers, foster parents, and alumni of foster care — are well positioned to offer unique insights into what works, based on their personal experiences. They are integral to designing a successful child welfare system that keeps children safely at home whenever possible and prioritizes safe reunification when foster care is necessary.

Constituents should be involved at all levels of the system: as the experts of what their family needs at the individual case level; as peer mentors who offer support and guidance to those newly involved with the system; and as constituent consultants who participate in leadership and decision-making to advance systems change.

FEATURED RESOURCES

Happy kids in the park

How can we prioritize constituent voice and choice?

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Three preschool age girls sit on the floor of their classroom together.  They look at each other and smile as they discuss a book.

How can birth and foster parents partner to achieve reunification?

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Shot of an adorable little boy affectionately kissing his mother at home

How can child protection agencies deepen partnerships with birth parents to advance systems change?

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Please explore the related resources below and at Questions from the field to learn more about constituency engagement.

Related Resources

This short video describes how child welfare agencies can operationalize the four tiers of family engagement.

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These brief videos talk about why it is important to recognize the strengths within each family.

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Parent partners can guide parents through a difficult time and instill hope. Learn more about parent partner programs in this issue brief.

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This appendix provides a brief summary of the research on individual parent partner programs.

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Learn how a foster parent and parent partner worked together to wrap supports around a birth mother so she could reunify with her child.

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Learn how Louisiana implemented Initial Calls and Icebreakers to build trust between birth and foster parents and promote shared parenting.

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Explore how Youth Support Partners provide peer support and influence child welfare policy and practice in Allegheny County, Pa.

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Learn how the Quality Parenting Initiative cultivates excellent parenting and supports caregivers to improve permanency for youth in care.

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This Q&A explores strategies to ensure excellent parenting for children in foster care, and to support relationships with birth parents.

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In this Q&A, Timothy Phipps describes the importance of involving parents, especially fathers, in designing the child welfare system.

LEARN MORE

The Parents for Parents program matches parents who have been reunified with those newly involved with child welfare to provide support and guidance.

LEARN MORE

Learn about the key elements of successful parent partner programs that offer support, guidance, and hope to birth parents.

LEARN MORE

This short video describes how child welfare agencies can operationalize the four tiers of family engagement.

READ STORY

These brief videos talk about why it is important to recognize the strengths within each family.

READ STORY

Parent partners can guide parents through a difficult time and instill hope. Learn more about parent partner programs in this issue brief.

READ STORY

This appendix provides a brief summary of the research on individual parent partner programs.

READ STORY

Learn how a foster parent and parent partner worked together to wrap supports around a birth mother so she could reunify with her child.

READ STORY

Learn how Louisiana implemented Initial Calls and Icebreakers to build trust between birth and foster parents and promote shared parenting.

READ STORY

Explore how Youth Support Partners provide peer support and influence child welfare policy and practice in Allegheny County, Pa.

READ STORY

Learn how the Quality Parenting Initiative cultivates excellent parenting and supports caregivers to improve permanency for youth in care.

READ STORY

This Q&A explores strategies to ensure excellent parenting for children in foster care, and to support relationships with birth parents.

READ STORY

In this Q&A, Timothy Phipps describes the importance of involving parents, especially fathers, in designing the child welfare system.

READ STORY

The Parents for Parents program matches parents who have been reunified with those newly involved with child welfare to provide support and guidance.

READ STORY

Learn about the key elements of successful parent partner programs that offer support, guidance, and hope to birth parents.

READ STORY
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